I know a few.Theres alittle bit of each ethnic group down here. Theres alot of mongs here that do any yards for $20' they mow,edge,blow,rake,and use the weedeater. They have about 10-15 living in a single house and half of them get government support and do this on the side,some of them get two soc. secruity cards because the government can't keep track of thier names. Not all of them do this but I know for a fact this happens.And I don't mean to pick on them but it makes us people mad that are trying to be honest in this buis.
I'm up in Monterey County, and can report much the same as Jay. Hard to get an 'honest buck' with all the under the table competition in these parts. However, I've long since learned that my price must remain take-it-or-leave-it and the response is starting to get better and better. My price is higher than the fly-by-night's, but my work is better, my attitude is better, and I'll still be here long after each of them have gone...
Ditto TG I just hope thiers still A future for my kids and nephews in this buis. Pricing seems to be getting worst more than its getting better. The numbers are growing here rapidly and the more it does the more fly bye nights we have. This is one of the most inexpensive buisineses to start up and I think more and more people don't treat it like a buisiness, they treat it more like away to get out of thier current job and make a few more bucks than they were. I know I'm still educating myself on the buisiness part of it, but luckily I knew a few people in varies buisinesses that helped me out with it alittle, also got some indeas from SBA. I wish everyone out thier in the buis. read about sites like this. Down here they tried to start a comittee of Yard services to keep rates up, but it never really took off.
It would be nice if our price wars were like gass stations and would only change by pennies depending on were you went.
Keep your chin up, brother. By all indications I've seen, the professional end of this business is getting larger, more recognizeable, and more organized. That's bad news for the 'fly-bys' we both know and despise. Sure, anyone can buy a K-Mart $99 Special with a rotary blade and four wheels and literally push money into their pocket by the hour. You and I can only watch as their customer lawns turn thinner and browner by the week from bad cuts with dull blades and, believe me, the whole neighborhood is watching, too.
Remember, the main difference between us and the guys who pile mowers up in the back of their trucks is that we care about our businesses, our professions, and our work. Ultimately, that will seperate us from our 'competition'. It's the same truth in any industry, and you know it. Any fool with a little experience can buy a set of tools and do carpentry under the table. I know a few guys who do. They rent. They drive pickups made in the 70s, and they're underneath them half the time. Just like lawn care un-professionals. They're still working Saturday nights after a long week while I'm spending time with my family. I'm making money and time, and doing it my way. Just like other lawn care professionals.
Keep your chin up, Jay. Professionalism is it's own reward, and the bounty will come for you, your kids, your nephews, and their children after if they so desire. Stay determined.